'American Idiot' doesn't score with Tony Awards
The Tony Awards administration committee rules on eligibility as well as category placement. On Friday, the committee considered the music scores of various shows. Missing from the list of possible nominees was "American Idiot" which is ineligible for the award because less than 50% of it was written specifically for the Broadway production. The show is based on the 2004 disc of the same name by Green Day, who wrote it as a rock opera in the style of The Who's 1969 smash, "Tommy."
That double disc, written by Pete Townshend, was turned into a film in 1975 and then a stage show in 1992. That production reached Broadway in 1993 and won five Tony Awards including best original score for Townshend, who tied with John Kander and Fred Ebb for "The Kiss of the Spider Woman."
While the trio of musicians in Green Day -- Billie Joe Armstrong, Tré Cool and Mike Dirnt -- won't be in the running for score, Armstrong, who wrote all the lyrics, could contend for the book of the musical. He worked with theater director Michael Mayer to craft the story of three young men from the suburbs who confront adulthood in different ways.
A trio of scores created for plays were deemed eligible to contend: "Enron" -- Adam Cork, music, and Lucy Prebble, lyrics); "Fences" -- Branford Marsalis, music; and "The Royal Family" -- Maury Yeston, music. In 1999, Jeanine Tesori was nominated for the score she created for a production of "Twelfth Night." She lost to Jason Robert Brown for "Parade."
Earlier this season, the score for the new musical "Fela!" was also ineligible, as it featured previously written songs by the subject of the show, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Yet in 1996, the late Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II contended for their score for "State Fair," which was a combination of the material they wrote for the 1945 movie of the same name and songs cut from their Broadway show "Oklahoma!" (1943) and included in three of their lesser stage hits -- "Allegro" (1947); "Me and Juliet" (1953); and "Pipe Dream" (1955). They lost to Jonathan Larson for "Rent."
Photo: "American Idiot" playbill. Credit: St. James Theater